April 26, 2014 – Conch Conservation awareness will get a renewed boost thanks to a recent donation given to the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) by the Sandals Foundation.
The Foundation handed over a cheque for $15,500US to the BNT to assist with its conch conservation programme’s public awareness initiative. The initiative seeks to educate the Bahamas and the world about why conch conservation and preservation is vital to this country’s economic and environmental future.
In its first year, the Sandals Foundation stepped up to the conservation effort with an initial US$15,000 donation. This initial donation helped the BNT to begin its public awareness campaign through printed documents and online forums.
“The Sandals Foundation is pleased to partner with the Bahamas National Trust once again to sustain conch fisheries here in the Bahamas. One of the most important steps in ensuring this is to educate our youth and the public on the role they play in preserving our precious resources,” said Heidi Clarke, the Sandals Foundation’s Director of Programmes.
Environment is one of the three pillars under which the Sandals Foundation operates, along with Education and Community. This recent donation falls under those three pillars, as the Foundation continues to herald its commitment to marine resources not only in the Bahamas, but across the Caribbean.
“Public outreach and education for the general public are the most important components of the National Conchservation Campaign,” said Vanessa Haley- Benjamin, Director of Science and Policy. “This second donation from the Sandals Foundation will provide continued support for the public component of the Conchservation campaign. We are very grateful to the Foundation for its corporate commitment to sustainable fisheries management.”
This initiative is aimed at bringing awareness to the depletion of conch stocks throughout the Bahamas. Conch remains a staple food in the country and at present is feared being overfished. There have been calls for a season that bans all collection of conch. Many Bahamians’ livelihoods depend almost solely on the sale of conch, and therefore careful consideration is being taken with regard to its protection.
The Sandals Foundation has helped to create a number of no-take marine sanctuaries throughout Jamaica. Its commitment to helping the Bahamas protect its marine environment is just as strong.
“The BNT Conchservation Campaign was launched in April 2013 and the Sandals Foundation was one of the first corporate partners to provide support for the campaign,” said Lynn Gape, BNT Deputy Executive Director. “This second donation to Conchservation shows Sandals concern and support for sustainable marine resources and their commitment to responsible management of our iconic conch fishery.”